A busy morning for those tracking ransomware in the healthcare sector

It is turning out to be a somewhat busy morning here because three new incidents in the healthcare sector reportedly involved ransomware or ransom attempts.

DataBreaches was already aware that Medical Associates of the Lehigh Valley notified HHS of a breach impacting 75,268 patients, but their notification letter reveals that this was a ransomware attack. MATLV does not name the ransomware group but notes that the types of protected health information in files that may have been accessed include patient names with one or more of the following: address, email address, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number / State ID number, health insurance provider, medical diagnosis/medical treatment information, medications, and/or lab results. MATLV discovered the breach on July 3.

The Physicians’ Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia, PC, also recently notified HHS of a breach. Their report indicated that 38,765 patients were impacted. A substitute notice on their site indicates that they discovered their breach on or about July 11, approximately one week after the incident occurred. Their statement suggests they have very little idea of what was accessed or exfiltrated. Although they do not specifically mention ransomware, they write, in part:

The investigation team determined that, despite numerous security measures that were in place prior to the incident – an outside, unauthorized party accessed the information technology systems the week before discovery and claims to have taken certain information/records that could be posted.

They do not explain why they didn’t ask the would-be extortionist for proof of access and proof of exfiltration. Pretty much every criminal group will provide proof. Why didn’t this entity ask for it, or did they ask for it and not receive it? Their notice continues:

The Practice is unsure exactly what if any personal information was actually taken but thought it best to notify patients of this incident. If any individual’s medical or billing information was taken, it could have included information of the type collected as part of treatment or payment (such as information like name, contact information, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, diagnosis, treatment, guarantor, insurance, etc.) – the exact elements of which vary by person/case.

The Practice does not store patient credit card numbers or bank account numbers so those numbers should not be affected.

In an abundance of caution, the Practice is offering affected parties free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance through Experian – solely to give patients peace of mind.

They missed or ignored DataBreaches’ repeated comment that entities should not try to claim that notification was optional when HIPAA requires it.

Rounding out this morning’s reading, InSpecs EyeWear in Hawaii was added to LockBit 3.0’s dedicated leak site. A proof pack with images of patient records and a drive directory was provided, but it’s not evident from any of the images how old or current the files might be. The purchase/destruction price was listed as $40,000. InSpecs EyeWear is a HIPAA-covered entity that takes health insurance, so we may also see this one on HHS’s public breach tool at some point.

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